When the Stars Come Out: A Cottonbloom Novel

When the Stars Come Out: A Cottonbloom Novel

by Laura Trentham

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Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever. . .

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250131294
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: Cottonbloom , #4
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 350
Sales rank: 283,312
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Read an Excerpt


A bang shook the wall. No fist had come through the Sheetrock, and it hadn't been violent enough to be a body. Probably a chair then. The break room sat a dozen feet from where Willa Brown worked. Indistinct male voices came in spurts and sometimes on top of each other. Overall, a typical Abbott family meeting. Good thing no customers were milling around to witness the fireworks.

Willa ducked her head back under the hood of Vera Carson's Oldsmobile Cutlass 442. She wanted to do the car and Abbott Brothers Garage and Restoration proud, but even more, she wanted to do Jackson Abbott proud. While she'd learned the ins and outs of car mechanics from her father, she'd gained an appreciation of the classics over the last two years working with the brothers. Jackson in particular.

Another harder hit to the wall registered but she didn't look up from where she was finger-tightening a bolt. While she had the disadvantage when it came to brute strength, none of the boys could match her dexterity in tight places.

The office door shot open and bounced against the wall, deepening the impression of the doorknob. Mack Abbott went out the front door and Wyatt out the back.

Jackson stalked out and slammed the door shut, looking like someone had borrowed his '68 Mustang GT and gotten ketchup on the seats. If it were socially acceptable, Willa wouldn't have been surprised to bear witness to Jackson marrying his Mustang.

Although twins, Jackson and Wyatt approached life from opposite directions. Wyatt was the wild charmer while Jackson was quieter and more circumspect. If past behaviors held, Wyatt was headed to the barn out back of the shop to expend his anger on a body-sized punching bag that hung from the rafters. Jackson would bottle up his aggression and let it explode all over the dirt track. She almost felt sorry for whoever raced him next.

Jackson headed straight for her. More likely his destination was the Cutlass. That knowledge didn't stop her quick intake of breath as he drew close. He stopped next to her with his hands propped on the open hood, breathing like he'd gone for a sprint around the building. His anger vibrated the air around them. He definitely had a Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre vibe going on. Dark, brooding, mysterious.

She was used to the Abbotts. In fact, their idiosyncrasies made her feel right at home. Growing up, she knew more about cars than most guys which did not help her cred with the girls, who'd been more concerned with pageants and cheerleading. It had been just her and her dad for so long that being around men felt normal. Melancholy reared up and bit her in the ass. Whenever she thought about her dad and the life she'd left behind — had to leave behind — regrets threatened to swamp her.

She put her father and her past out of her head and focused instead on her favorite subject — Jackson Abbott. If he was a textbook, she would name him The Anatomy of the Perfect Male or if she was in a philosophical mind-set, Dwelling on Jackson. Her mind tended to dwell on him in her waking and sleeping hours.

Not that he saw her as anything but an employee. In fact, sometimes she wasn't sure he saw her at all. Like now. Even though they were three feet apart under the same hood, he ignored her. She thought about making a funny face to see how long it took him to notice. He probably wouldn't and her face would freeze that way.

She smothered a laugh and checked him out from the corner of her eyes, one of her favorite pastimes. He wore baggy gray work coveralls, same as she did, but in deference to the warm snap, he'd peeled off the top and tied the sleeves around his waist. His black T-shirt molded to his thick chest and emphasized his brown hair. His jaw was tight and his biceps flexed as he stared into the engine compartment.

"So how was the family meeting?" she asked in a singsongy voice.

"Shitty." His voice was more hoarse-sounding than usual which made her wonder if he'd been doing most of the hollering even though that was unlike him. He was more the strong, silent type. Or the closed-off, brooding type.

Her chest tightened. Was the shop in financial trouble? Had the decision to expand into car restoration and the recent upgrades been too much of a strain? Oh God, were they going to fire her?

Where would she go? She didn't want to start over. Not again. Not when she'd finally found somewhere to settle for longer than a few months. Even though the Abbotts weren't her family, they were all she had. They drove each other crazy more often than not, but at least they'd stuck together and had each other's backs.

Unfortunately, she was the odd woman out in the equation. She straightened and faced him. "Am I being fired?"

"What?" Finally, he turned his attention to her. "Of course you're not fired. Where would you get that idea?"

She averted her face and pretended to work on something in the depths of the engine block. Her breath shuddered out. She didn't want Jackson to know how important this job was to her. Without it — without the Abbotts — she would be alone again.

"What was all the arguing about then?" she asked.

"It was about Ford. Ford and his need for something big, something quick. Instead of being patient and building our reputation through hard, honest work, he wants fast cash and is threatening to sell out if we can't buy him out."

"Why can't you and Wyatt and Mack pool your money and buy him out? That would solve a lot of problems." Now that her job was safe for at least another day, she could turn her worry outward for Jackson. He was more than mad. The gamut of emotions that flashed through his typical stoicism came too fast for her to interpret, but his voice reflected betrayal.

"We put most of our ready cash into the shop, and we're still repaying the loan for the addition. The question is, do we overextend ourselves for another loan, find Ford and appeal to whatever family loyalty he has left, or let things play out?"

Three years earlier when the brothers got serious about expanding into car renovations and not just repairs, they had added two more bays and specialized equipment like a metal-bending machine and a top-of-the-line welder. Those upgrades had been necessary but expensive.

To counteract the despondency in his voice, she forced a tease into hers. "Is there anything to really worry about? I mean, who the heck would be interested in buying this grease pit anyway?" While she didn't garner a smile, tension leaked out of him like a drain being opened. The garage was actually the nicest she'd ever worked in. As the unofficial leader, Mack insisted they clean up after themselves. While she wouldn't eat off the floors, she'd certainly slept in dirtier places.

"You've got a point there. Ford likes to throw out empty threats to get a reaction out of Mack. Maybe it will blow over and things will get back to normal." The furrows along his forehead belied his words.

"What about Sutton?"

"What about her?"

"To be safe, why don't you see if she'll buy Ford's part?"

Sutton Mize was the daughter of a prominent family in Cottonbloom, Mississippi. She and Wyatt had come together over her ex-fiancé's car and had been inseparable ever since. On paper they shouldn't work, but seeing them together made everyone believers. However, there was no arguing the fact that Sutton changed the dynamics of the garage.

Suddenly it wasn't the Three Musketeers — Mack, Wyatt, Jackson — against the world. Willa had always cast herself as D'Artagnan, but with the addition of Sutton, Willa felt demoted and more of an outsider than ever.

"And if she and Wyatt end things? A vengeful ex who's well connected could wreck our reputation. Hell, Ford could wreck our reputation and drive the garage into the ground. Garages make or break on word of mouth, especially in a town like Cottonbloom."

Desperation stalked through her body. The feeling was only too familiar. Heat bloomed and a sickening wave of faintness passed through her, forcing her to unzip the top of her coveralls and flap the front to cool down.

"Hey, are you okay?" Concern for her replaced any angst he'd carried from the meeting.

"I'm fine. Fine." She half sat on the edge of the engine compartment. The wave of heat and nausea passed. Her skipped breakfast and lunch were coming back to haunt her. All her extra money and then some were going to repairs to her car. Her clutch was nearly shot, the exhaust was leaking, and her tires were bald. Considering where she worked, the irony of her problems wasn't lost on her. Black humor was the only kind she appreciated these days. But it was payday and since she wasn't getting fired, she'd splurge on a decent meal.

"Wasn't expecting a heat wave in November is all." Her voice was embarrassingly shaky.

"It's not like we have a dress code or anything. You can wear old jeans and T-shirts when it gets hot. And you'd be a sight cooler without a hat." Before she could react, he grabbed the bill of her vintage Texaco ball cap and peeled it off.

Her hair sprang around her face. Usually as soon as it hit her neck, she hacked it off. The monthly ritual seemed a penance she needed to pay for her past transgressions. Plus, it was all-around easier to handle when it was short. Since the beginning of summer though, she hadn't taken up scissors, and pieces waved around her face like new growth from a tree. A scraggly tree.

She'd given up her old life. Except for the name she shared with her grandmother, Wilhelmina, Willa for short. At the time she'd wanted something to hang on to, something to ground her.

But the hat and her given name aside, her hair had had to go. Wavy, thick, and chestnut colored, her hair had been her vanity and hacking it off had been symbolic. It had been what had attracted her ex, Derrick, also known as the worst mistake of her life. She wanted to leave the selfish, stupid girl she'd been behind.

Unfortunately, cutting it hadn't cut out the memories of her dad singing "Brown Eyed Girl" to her at night while stroking her long hair off her forehead. Her life hadn't been all bad — not even close in retrospect — and remembering the good hurt.

She finger-combed her hair behind her ears. It was all split ends and tangles and dulled color. She might be a greasy mechanic and his employee, but she was still a female standing in front of an attractive man. She didn't want Jackson seeing her with sweaty, gross hat head.

"Gimme that back." She grabbed the hat and mashed it on her head, tucking the ends of her hair that stuck out underneath as best she could. Her fingertips stopped to trace the unraveling embroidery on the front. The hat had been her father's. The last thing she'd ever stolen. Did he miss her?

Jackson had never looked at her the way he was looking at her right now. Was he suspicious? Curious? Either was bad. That was the nice thing about working with men, especially Jackson. He didn't gossip. He didn't ask questions unrelated to whatever projects were on the shop floor. He didn't care about where she was from or what had brought her to Cottonbloom. She needed it to stay that way.

"You sure you're okay? You're really pale," he said.

"I'm a-okay." She waved him off even though it was a lie. "What's your plan to handle Ford?" His voice dropped as if talking to himself. "Can he be handled? I'm worried Mack and Ford are going to play chicken with the garage and then where will we be?"

Did he mean the garage might go under for real? The garage had been started by their father, Hobart Abbott, and had maintained a steady clientele and stellar reputation for more than forty years. Her heart accelerated from zero to one-twenty, bringing with it another wave of knee-weakening nausea. "Surely there's something you can do to stave off a disaster."

He muttered something unintelligible, ran a hand down his face, and scratched at the dark stubble along his jaw. "We're talking more after work. I'll let you know."

He pivoted away and stalked toward the back door, maybe to join Wyatt in pounding his worries into the punching bag; or maybe he was seeking the privacy of the loft above the barn that he shared with Wyatt.

Turning back to the engine, all she could see was her tidy, small world disintegrating. That morning all she'd been focused on was making it to the end of the day when Mack would hand her the cash she'd worked her butt off for, and the barbeque plate from Rufus's Meat and Three she planned to devour for dinner.

But wasn't that the way of all natural disasters? Like the tornado that had peeled the roof off her rented trailer and let the rain in to soak her secondhand clothes and furniture. Thank God, she'd been at the shop with Jackson. They'd huddled in the closet full of cleaning supplies until it passed. He'd never made mention of the fact she'd reached for him during the worst of it. He'd let her hold on.

This disaster felt more like an earthquake, shaking the foundations of what she'd built in Cottonbloom. Could she get out before the fissures exposed her secrets?

* * *

Jackson exchanged a grunt with Wyatt, who was attempting to put his fist straight through the leather of the punching bag, and took the steps to their loft two at a time. He was glad to have a few minutes of solitude.

His usually orderly thoughts were like a mixed-up Rubik's Cube he couldn't solve. He gave the center support column a slap on his way to the kitchenette. Going against his rigid set of work rules, he grabbed a beer from the fridge, screwed off the top, and killed half before coming up for air. It was Friday, and everything on the shop floor could keep. He'd make up the time tomorrow. Not like he had any other weekend plans.

His thoughts still whirling, he walked to the windows along the back and braced a hand against the sill, taking more measured sips. Wyatt would be at the bag for at least another half hour. Jackson prayed Mack hadn't wrapped his truck around a tree somewhere out in the marshes. They all had their ways of coping.

Except for Ford. He was a runner. Even when they were kids, he spent more time avoiding his chores than it would have taken to just shut his mouth and get them done. Jackson had spent their youth trying to reason with him while Wyatt had preferred to try to punch some sense into him. Neither method had worked. Ford went on and did whatever the fuck he wanted to do, acting as if he thought because he was older, he was wiser.

Jackson emptied the bottle, tossed it into the recycle bin, and collapsed onto the overstuffed couch, closing his eyes. The image of Willa's pale face and huge brown eyes came into his mind. The mass of hair he'd released had given him his second shock of the day. The messy waves had framed and highlighted how delicately pretty she was with her thin nose, sharp chin, and heart-shaped face.

Of course, he was aware she was female. A girl. A woman. But for the last two years — really until the moment he'd pulled her ball cap off to cool her down and keep her from passing out — she'd first and foremost been a mechanic. And a damn good one. On her best day, she was better than either Mack or Wyatt, and almost as good as him. On her worst and blindfolded, she was better than Ford.

How old was she? He tried to recall if he'd ever asked. The day she'd come in with the want ad from the paper in her hand, he'd known she wasn't being a hundred percent upfront. The biggest red flag was her insistence on being paid only in cash. His pop had agreed. All of them had assumed she wouldn't last out the trial week anyway.

She'd not only stuck it out, but impressed the hell out of them. She'd become invaluable. But there was a dark, haunted look about her that spoke of secrets. As closely as they worked together day in and day out, he'd expected her to eventually crack and tell him the truth. Two years later and that day still hadn't come to pass.

Damn but she was pretty. Her enormous brown eyes and the dark arch of her brows were usually hidden or shadowed by the hat he'd assumed she wore twenty-four-seven. Didn't matter what she looked like, although it would have been a sight less disconcerting if she'd been hiding a few warts or hairy moles under her hat. He was basically her boss, and as such he stuffed any inappropriate thoughts back into the deep, dark recesses of his soul.

His frustration wasn't really about Willa anyway. He was pissed at Ford and the way he'd betrayed his blood. Even before he'd headed to LSU and gotten his degree, he'd acted as if he were too good for the garage even as he took his percentage of the profits. Their pop had been blind to Ford's lack of devotion to cars and the garage, and when he'd died unexpectedly last year, that blindness had incited a power struggle between Mack and Ford for the garage's future.


Excerpted from "When the Stars Come Out"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Laura Trentham.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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When the Stars Come Out: A Cottonbloom Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 STARS! Small-town life at it's best! If you haven't visited Cottonbloom yet, what are you waiting for? With each visit, the Abbott brothers draw me in deeper and deeper to their family life. I love these guys. They have a lot of history holding them back from realizing their true potential, but with each woman that comes into their lives, they find a little more happiness until bit by bit they are healing and becoming even better men than they already were. Such a great series! I'm really enjoying the characters, the storylines and the hope of happily ever after for them all! Willa Brown never meant to call Cottonbloom home when she stopped in two years ago, but she found work as a mechanic with the Abbott brothers, and found a place she fit in better than she ever has in her life. With Jackson Abbott by her side under a  hood every day, she learns to take comfort in the day to day work and friendship that a close-knit atmosphere can bring. She doesn't want to leave the good thing she's found, but her past could spring up and bite her any day if she continues to hang around! Jackson Abbott didn't even realize Willa was interested in him until one day he woke up and realized she was acting restless like she was getting ready to bail on them. He can't stand to lose her in the garage ... and in his life. He didn't realize how deep she'd gotten under his skin until he came to the realization that she might not always be there. Once he opens his eyes, the attraction flares out of control and they decide to act on it ... but in the midst of his family drama, her past rears it's ugly head and they find themselves having to deal with multiple factors that could keep them apart.
EverAfterBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom books are some of my very favorite contemporary romance stories. I love the dynamics and the characters and the opposites attract romances so much! Each couple fighting for happiness and a love that’s all their own. And when a new Cottonbloom book comes out, I can’t wait to return to the familiarity of this diversely divided town where local yokels, quilting club busybodies, upper-crust snobs, southern belles and bad boys call home. Willa and Jackson’s story was sweet, sexy and a little frustrating. Frustrating in that Willa is hiding some secrets and is very skittish. Jackson doesn’t want to lose Willa because she’s a gifted mechanic. But soon, he realizes that there’s more to Willa than her greasy coveralls and oversized ballcap. She’s special. Jackson is a swoon-worthy hero and it’s not just his killer smile and muscular physique that will keep readers turning the pages for more! He’s a hard worker, genuine, honest and, like his brother Wyatt, has a heart of gold! Willa is a mysterious heroine. She’s quiet, hardworking and carrying an enormous amount of guilt. She doesn’t feel she deserves happiness. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of hers. I think Jackson and Willa are a great match, but I wasn’t very excited about her backstory and how her secrets and past unfolded. I did, however, absolutely love the ending! And I was so happy to read about my boyfriend Mack He works too hard, worries too much and needs me to warm his bed at night! I’m heartbroken he’ll get a different happily ever after. She better be good to him is all I’ve got to say! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT is another wonder story by the equally wonderful Laura Trentham. I recommend this and every book in the Cottonbloom series. ***I was gifted a paperback ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own***
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
Never hooked me all the way. I got this book through NetGalley in exchange for a review which I am happy to provide. When I initially heard about the book I did not realize that it was part of a series, so of course I was worried if that would be a problem, but it turned out to be fine. However despite it being a nice, though predictable storyline, I never really felt connected to the characters. Perhaps because I had not read the previous books? Overall it was entertaining, but it never hooked me enough to want to read the other books in the series.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham Cottombloom #5 Jackson Abbot and Willa Brown, after two years working together, finally wise up and realize there might be more for them together in the future than working on cars. Jackson and his three brothers are co-owners of the garage their father established four decades ago. The eldest, Ford, is putting pressure on all of them to get money for his share of the business. Wyatt, Jackson’s twin, met his love in the last book and Mack is to meet his in the next one. This one is all about Jackson and Willa, though, and it was a whole lot of fun to read! The Abbot brothers are pretty sure Willa has secrets but she is a cracker jack mechanic they want to keep around. When Jackson realizes that Willa could move on at any time he also realizes he does not want her to do so. That means making some changes and making moves and he is quickly on task to keep her around. This story deals with Willa’s past and her secret. It deals with why Ford needs money. It spends a bit of time at the track Jackson races on. It provides resolution for Willa. It sets up the next book in the series. And, it provides the HEA that Willa and Jackson so richly deserve. This was an easy to read book without any major highs or lows and was somewhat predictable but perfect for that day you just want an easy relaxing romance to read that has a happy ending. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and the author for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This series is always well done. I love the Abbott family. This book concentrated on Willa and Jackson. This is a contemporary fiction story that is just fun to read. Willa and Jackson start to actually notice one another. They are not sure if they should cross the line between work friends and lovers. I look forward to reading about the next brother in line. I received an ebook copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Monnie777 More than 1 year ago
I will start off saying I have not read any other books in this series. You don't need to, you can read this as a stand alone. I really enjoyed getting to know Willa and Jackson and the rest of the Abbotts. Willa had a lot to overcome, most of it as you get old realize it is very dumb stuff but for a teenager at the time was very hard for her. Jackson is the perfect match for her with his serious, quiet persona. Willa finally comes to trust people in this town and because of that and especially Jackson she faces her past for good. I can already tell who will the next book be about and I am interested to see how Laura decides to put the two of them together and I would like to see more of Abbott family. *Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this for my honest opinion*
CoffeeGoddessTK More than 1 year ago
The fifth book in the Cottonbloom series by author Laura Trentham, WHEN THE STARS COME OUT is Jackson's and Willa's story. As a fan of series that cover the lives and relationships of members of a family, this one satisfied on every level, and made for a very enjoyable read. The relationship between Willa and Jackson is layered, ease and camaraderie infused with an undercurrent of emotional tension. For two years, they've worked side by side, but only as the secrets of Willa's past threaten to send her away from Cottonbloom do the two of them understand that there's so much more between them than friendship. When the two of them finally acknowledge the spark between them, things get really interesting, and friendly co-workers become so much more. Since I just started this series with the previous book, there is still some backstory for me to catch up on, but Laura writes each book as a standalone, so it is possible to read WHEN THE STARS COME OUT without having read the others. I find that I'm enjoying the story arc and the characters so much, though, that I'd like to go back and read the first books, as well as continue with Mack Abbott's story, the upcoming SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE. WHEN THE STARS COME OUT is an easy 4 stars for me, and one that I would readily recommend. Fans of contemporary romance, family sagas, of series with a Southern setting, and storylines that cross over between books, will enjoy the Cottonbloom series, and should add these books to their TBR.
Pinky1979 Reviews More than 1 year ago
This is my first foray in to the small town of Cottonbloom. A unique town that is separated by a river and has one side in Mississippi and one in Louisiana. The Abbot brothers own a garage that is left to the four of them by their late father. The three brothers, Mack, Jackson and Wyatt work together along with one of the best mechanics that they have ever seen. Willa is a mystery to allow them. A woman who seems to have a lot of secrets and keeps to herself but who is also hard working and friendly. In this world of men, she has quickly become one of the boys. With her coveralls and the old cap that she refuses to take off her head she is a typical tomboy. But everything is about to change... Willa Brown blames herself for her best friend's drug overdose and death. She is trying to run away from her past and start a new life with no connection to her old one. The only connection she has is her knowledge of cars. She has had a major crush on Jackson Abbot since the day she met him but knows that he will never see her as more than a co-worker. But when circumstances start pushing them together outside of the garage, their relationship starts taking a new turn. Now she is terrified of revealing her past and losing everything along with her heart. Jackson Abbot has never even thought of Willa has a woman. She has always been one of the best mechanics that he has ever worked with and enjoyed fixing cars with her. But when he sees her outside of her coveralls one day, he is struck by her fragile beauty. He senses the constant fear that she seems to be carrying with her and the many secrets that she refuses to share. But he wants to keep her in his life and is willing to do anything to help her. It seems that the previous book was about Jackson's twin, Wyatt and Sutton. From what I have gathered they also seem to have a very rocky story. This is a beautiful and emotional ugly duckling story - not that Willa had to change a lot to catch Jackson's eye, but it was nice to see him wake up and finally notice what was right in front of his eyes all along. I really enjoyed the dynamic that the brothers have with each other and if I'm not mistaken the next book will be about Mack and even though I have an idea about who the heroine will be, I don't want to reveal her name ;) can't wait to see the sparks fly in the next book!!! Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham is the 5th book in her wonderful Cottonbloom series. I have enjoyed every book in this series, and this book is no different….I loved When The Stars Come Out. Willa Brown, our heroine, has worked at the Abbot garage for the two years she has been in Cottonbloom. Willa loves her job, as she grew up fixing cars, but she keeps secrets about her past life, knowing when anyone gets too close, she will run. Jackson Abbot and the rest of the Abbot boys think highly of Willa, as one of the best mechanics. Jackson has always befriended Willa, as his whole life is about cars, but now he begins to see her in another light. Willa has always been attracted to Jackson, but hides how she feels. Jackson and the family sense that Willa is hiding something, and Jackson begins to fear she will leave, and gives her a big raise to keep her. In a short time, both will begin to spend more time out of the garage, as Jackson tries to help her, since her makeshift living quarters are bad. When a mutt comes to Willa one day, she feeds him and earns his trust, and soon River (the mutt) will follow her to work, and the boys will also accept River. Soon Willa and Jackson, will act on their feelings, and a steamy romance will start. Willa still looks over her shoulder, not trusting how happy she is with Jackson. He is determined to get her to talk and find out what she is running from. He never thought he would fall in love, but now that he loves Willa, he will do anything to keep her. I really did enjoy Sutton’s new friendship with Willa, and the fun of watching her help Willa dress up to attend a New Year’s Party. When she realizes that she loves Jackson, she does reveal some truths to him, and though scared, will go back home to bring some kind of closure. Jackson will get help from his family to find and help Willa, which was very nicely done. There is a side story about the bad brother, Ford, who is putting the garage at risk by selling his share to someone else. This will lead to the next book, with I think Mack as the hero. I really loved Jackson and Willa together; as their romance was sweet, sexy and emotional. Jackson was not only sweet and caring, but he was a hunk. Willa was a strong, independent & likable heroine; with some sassy humor. When The Stars Come Out reads very well as a standalone. It was a wonderful storyline, and great to see all the other characters that we have come to know from the previous books. Laura Trentham once again gives us a wonderful story, great characters, fabulous couple, heartwarming small town atmosphere, and a sweet wonderful romance. You should be reading this series, and I can’t wait to return to Cottonbloom.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
Willa and Jackson took my breath away, broke my heart a bit, and gave hope for the better days to come. This story literally left me gasping for a breath with the heart-wrenching realities of how tough life can truly be, how sometimes we just have to survive, and if we stick it out life can spur a surprise that can change our destinies. Jackson Abbott is a hardworking man who is trying to get a grasp of life after his father past away and one of his brothers got in trouble. The last thing that could tip the boat he is desperately trying to balance would be Willa leaving them and moving on. I loved Jackson. His honesty, his dignity, his kindness, tenderness, and protectiveness towards Willa made me admire him even more. He is just what Willa needs, they are so perfectly balanced with each other with their characteristics, talents, and imperfections, reading about them was like watching harmony in motion. Willa, oh my gosh, her spunk, her ability to survive, to take care of herself, to find the little things that made her smile and happy when life was kicking her to the curve again and again - I admire her immensely and wanted to hug her tight like she was my sister. Her skittish heart and untrusting mind had developed naturally after being on her own and on the road for so long. With the Abbott's she felt like she belonged, she fit in and was safe, she was truly an equal even though an employee. I loved her confidence in her skills with the cars, wished she learned to appreciate her other attributes as well. The story took a little time to set the stage, I haven't read the book one in the series, yet when the tale starting rolling, I could not put the book down. When the issues with the Abbott family is added to the troubles Willa has faced, to the secrets that needed to be unraveled, it all created drama and turbulence that rocked the foundation of all of their lives. There are heartbreak and sadness, yet there's optimism, there's hope for the silver lining, there's a heartfelt wish for normalcy in a life that could be filled with love, acceptance, and feeling safe and secure. An absolutely beautiful, touching story that woke my interest to the rest of the series, a desire to know more and keep living in the moment and find out how things will shape up to the Abbott clan. ~ Five Spoons
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Willa tries to stay as invisible as possible. She works for cash in a garage owned by the Abbot brothers in Cottonbloom. Willa is great with cars, but not so good with people. She doesn't have any friends and keeps everyone at a distance. This changes when Jackson, one of Willa's bosses, starts noticing her as a woman instead of just a good mechanic. Willa has always liked him, but she doesn't think it's wise to get involved with someone because of her past. The attraction proves to be difficult to resist, can she risk following her heart? Jackson knows Willa is keeping secrets. He wants to protect her and gain her trust, so she will open up to him. Willa is a vital part of the garage and he values her both as a colleague and since a short while also as a friend, but he'd love for them to become something more. Willa feels safe with Jackson. Can he use this to make her talk about what's been bothering her for so long and can Jackson help her to solve her problems, so they'd have a real chance together or is their relationship too fragile for Willa to put her trust in it? When the Stars Come Out is a wonderful romantic story. Willa is tough and capable. She hides her vulnerability between thick walls she's built around herself. She doesn't want to let anyone in, but Jackson proves to be persistent and slowly he makes some progress. I couldn't wait to see if he'd be able to convince Willa she'd be able to tell him everything and read their story in one sitting. Willa's secrets are interesting and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out what she was hiding. She and Jackson are a great match. They're both kindhearted people with plenty of intriguing layers. Laura Trentham's wonderful descriptions of her settings are always making me fall in love with her stories straight away. I really enjoyed reading about the garage and it was fun to go on a fictional journey to Cottonbloom again, it's one of my all time favorite romantic settings. I love the vivid descriptions of the town and its inhabitants. Laura Trentham combines a mesmerizing place to read about with fascinating love stories that put a big smile on my face. I loved When the Stars Come Out, it's a fantastic feelgood story.
RomanticReadsandSuch More than 1 year ago
Be still my heart – I just want to give every Abbott brother a hug! Abandoned by their mother as small boys, they were loved by their father and their aunts, but they definitely missed out on something without that motherly love. And now with the sudden death of their dad, things are even more complicated. For Jackson it all comes to a head when he realizes that he might lose his right-hand woman. Willa has been running from her past and trying her best to lie low. And while she’s had a crush on Jackson for years, having him finally notice her as more than a great employee doesn’t fit her plan for hiding. Trentham is one of the best at delivering character driven small-town romances. There is such a feeling of community (here it shines with the closeness of the brothers) and when trouble happens they rally around each other. And while Willa doesn’t think that’s what she wants, it is definitely what she needs. It is time that she faces up to what happened so she can finally start living again. Unfortunately she’s been on her own for so long, scared and hesitant to trust thanks to some bad experiences, so it is going to take a lot of patience and understanding on Jackson’s part to get her to that point. Good thing the more self-contained Abbott brother has both in spades! *** I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s. ***
Claire Saul More than 1 year ago
Disclaimer: I was fortunate to be given an advance copy of this book by the author and publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. I wonder if you remember my previous review of Laura Trentham’s book Leave The Night On in which we met the Abbott brothers? Well this new contemporary romance in her Cottonbloom series follows the brothers again, focusing particularly on Jackson, twin of Wyatt who we met before. The Abbott garage is in trouble, not least because eldest brother Ford has announced that he plans to sell his share and he has now disappeared. The remaining three, Jackson, Wyatt and Mack have now idea where he is and no idea who the mystery buyer could be. Still employed at the garage is mechanic Willa, quietly and diligently working under the bonnets of cars and trucks, but hugging a multitude of secrets about her life and loves to her heart. She doesn’t think that anyone notices her, with her home cut hair, charity shop clothes and beat up old car – and this is how she wants it. She certainly doesn’t want Jackson to know how she feels about him. But Willa hasn’t factored in that the Abbott boys are a close-knit family and do notice when someone they care about is in need. Wyatt has had a few rough edges knocked off him since falling for Sutton Mize (see my last review!), and Mack has always looked out for Willa. But it is Jackson who has started to notice Willa as a living and breathing woman, rather than just a mechanic and he wonders why she is living in a cold, damp caravan, driving a clapped out old car and failing to eat properly. Don’t they pay her enough and why does she want cash only? So begins the romance that forms the bedrock of the story, but it is by no means plain sailing. Willa is a determined young lady who trusts no one and is living a life on the run – but what or whom is she running from? Her back-story winds through the book allowing us to watch a veneer of self-preservation to be chipped away as her confidence in those around her begins to grow. She allows herself to form an attachment to a stray dog and this is when her true nature starts to shine through and little by little we learn just what Willa is running from and how much of this is herself. Jackson has his own demons to tackle, in the form of his absent brother and his estranged mother, who abandoned the family as children. But we see him mellow as his feelings for Willa deepen and he realises that he can have what he sees his twin enjoying – that is a loving relationship. This would not be a good contemporary romance if there were not some glamour and an opportunity for the hero to be dazzled by the hidden beauties of his new love. Ms Trentham does not fail us, and with the help and friendship of Sutton, Willa allows herself to once again feel feminine and become the lovely young woman that is hiding beneath her greasy overalls. I think that if you enjoy a good romance, with some intrigue and some great characters then you will enjoy When The Stars Come Out. It can be read as a stand-alone book, but I personally enjoy a series that is set around a town and which interlinks characters and plots from book to book – like large chapters of an overall novel. This is an easy to read, light story that will brighten these cold, wet months at the start of the new year. I am now looking forward to the next instalment – surely, we need a tale about the other Abbott brother, Mack!
Robindpdx More than 1 year ago
This was a well-written, great book. Willa was on her way somewhere else when she wound up in Cottonbloom and found a safe haven working in a family garage. Jackson appreciates Willa skills as a mechanic, then one day he sees her, and wants her to come to trust him. They gradually start to develop their shared attraction, but danger from Willa's past is coming closer. This book can be read as a standalone story, though it is part of a series with related characters. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to reading more books in this series as well as others by this author.
Hfowler More than 1 year ago
Willa has been on the run for years and she has lost the ability to trust anyone. Jackson is a quite reflective sort of man who doesn’t share or show his feelings that often and for the past two years hasn’t seen what has been right under his nose, Willa, but when she hints at the need to move on all of a sudden he sees her and wants her. Willa has had a crush on Jackson all two years she has worked in his family's garage, but when he suddenly sees her, she realizes her façade that helped her disappear in a crowd is gone. Jackson doesn’t want her to leave and starts to get to know that her life has been rough and in order to win her trust he has to work extra hard to show her that he is one of the good guys. I enjoyed watching them grow closer, fall in love, and learn to open up to each other. Willa wasn’t the only one who needed to learn to trust. I have been trying out more contemporary romances lately and I am finding them refreshing. I enjoyed this small town romance that was passionate enough and with enough edge to it that it didn’t fall into the "Hallmark/Lifetime romance category, which I don’t like. Willa’s past experiences gave it an edginess and a dark undertone that made it both sweet and real, but not rose-colored-glasses sweet. I enjoyed it. I want more from the Abbot brothers for sure.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
When The Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham is an amazing, well-written book. Ms. Trentham has delivered a book that will have you falling in love with these phenomenal characters. Willa is working for the Abbott brothers at their garage, she's on the run and trying to save money to keep her car running for when she may have to leave town. Jackson is one of the Abbott brothers. Willa and Jackson's story will make your heart hurt and will have you cheering for all these characters. There's plenty of drama, suspense and sizzle to keep readers glued to this book from start to finish. I totally loved reading When The Stars Come Out and look forward to my next book by Laura Trentham. When The Stars Come Out is book 5 of the Cottonbloom Series, but can easily be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
DebraMenard155 More than 1 year ago
I read for a honest review for NetGalley. I loved this storyline, I loved Jackson's character the best. If I could live anywhere it would be Cottonbloom.Where everyone knows you.I highly recommend this series and this book.
tiggeruoSO More than 1 year ago
Willa is on the run from a past she would like to break free from but she is finally in a place where she feels some what safe. She can't seem to get one person out of her head and as long as she can stay invisible then she will be ok. Jackson is dealing with family drama and the loss of his dad. When he finally notices Willa and it seems like she may run from whatever she is hiding from. Can he convince her to stay and trust him with the truth of the past or will the past coming back and send her into a panic? I did enjoy this story, I loved the city of Cottonbloom and the fun characters. I love Aunt Hazel and Aunt Hy they seem like they would be such fun people to hang around. I did however feel like the author dragged out some of Willa's and it was a constant build up then she would move on to a twist in the story. I started to loose some interest in the story. I did enjoy while the story seemed predictable towards the end of the book the author through a twist in that you didn't see coming. This book does have adult scenes and language. I can't wait to here more of Mack's story. Overall this book was a super fun and fast read.
EileenAW More than 1 year ago
Despite the emotional roller coaster I was on and the tugging of my heartstrings, I loved reading When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham, book five in her Cottonbloom series. Willa left home five years ago, changed her name, and has been on the run since. She was afraid if she stayed harm would have come to her dad and his car repair business. Luckily for her, she landed in Cottonbloom where she found a job working on cars at Abbott’s Garage and Restoration. Working alongside the Abbott brothers was a joy, especially her crush Jackson. It was not until Jackson’s twin, Wyatt, commented that they were lucky Willa stayed considering how little they paid her before Jackson noticed her; I mean, really noticed her. Once that happened, Jackson couldn’t stop thinking about her. As these two start spending time together, Jackson wonders what secrets Willa is hiding and Willa wonders how long before she would tell Jackson those secrets. Willa needs to come to terms with her secrets and past before she can give Jackson the trust he desires. Lots of other drama happen in this wonderful story; Willa rescues a dog, Ford disappears, Jackson finds the mother who deserted them, and Willa makes peace with her dad and her past. I really loved reading this book and had trouble putting this book down. Ms. Trentham is a wonderful story teller, drawing me in and not letting go until I read the last page. I highly recommend this book to other readers and can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
JuliaAD More than 1 year ago
I just love the Abbott brothers. We heard a little about Willa in the last book and I am glad Willa and Jackson got their story. Willa has been a mechanic at the garage for a couple of years, but the brothers know little about her. They know that she is an excellent mechanic and Jackson works side by side with her all the time. He never even noticed her as a woman before. But, when he does, he knows he can't ever let her run away. Willa has been running for years and has kept her background a secret. She doesn't want anyone hurt. She hasn't trusted anyone in a long time and isn't sure she should give Jackson her secret. As both Jackson and Willa are dealing with their past, they find they don't want to be alone any more.
grammyx3 More than 1 year ago
Laura Trentham is a new to me author. This book, When the Stars Come Out, is part of her Cottonbloom series. It has been a good introduction to the series and I plan to read more books in the series. I enjoyed reading about the Abbott family and their garage and how the Abbotts hired Willa, a very talented mechanic no questions asked. Seeing Jackson Abbott realize that Willa was special and Willa admitting the same about Jackson made for a good story. The author did a good job telling their story leading them to their Happily Ever After. I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGally for an honest review
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Reliable, Jackson Abbott, has always been too busy being their for his family and running their shop to make time to date, let alone even notice a woman... but then Willa Brown wanders into his shop and he suddenly finds looking under the hood of a car just isn't as appealing as it once was. He knows mixing business with pleasure probably isn't the best idea, but Willa is just too damn tempting to ignore. She is guarded and he is certain she is hiding from someone or something, and damned if he doesn't want to be the one to help her face it head on, and offer up his shoulder for her to lean on when it all gets too tough. But before that can happen he needs to figure out a way to get her to trust him enough to share her secrets... Willa Brown has a troubled past that she hopes never catches up to her, it's what made her go on the run in the first place, and brought her to the town of Cottonbloom. Her plan was to hideout for a few days and then commence to running, but the charm of the little town and it's residents lured her in, and convinced her to stay a while, and truth be told it is one of the first good things to happen to her in a long while. Her boss Jackson is a kind man, that gives off an air of unwavering strength, and is also extremely good looking, each time he looks at her she can't help but smile. But this little crush she has on him can never go any farther than that, he is too good of a man to get mixed up with the likes of someone like her and there is just no way she could bring him into her disastrous world. Returning to Cottonbloom has never been sweeter, When The Stars Come Out is pure literary magic, it's sure to have readers mesmerized from start to finish!! I have been looking forward to making a return to this series and getting better acquainted with the Abbott family matriarch, Jackson, for sometime now and I have to say his story was everything I hoped it would be and so much more! His relationship with Willa was something I could see brewing in previous installments and I knew once they got together it would produce some serious fireworks, and I have to say my instincts were on point...there were lots of dazzling sparks there!! This delightful tale will bring you many moments to treasure, the passionate moments that will make you swoon, the tender moments that will warm your heart, the brave moments that will inspire, and the suspenseful moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat! I highly recommend you give this read a chance, the moment you crack the cover these endearing characters will pull you into their world and take you on a truly unforgettable literary escape!
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: Country Aire trailer park wouldn’t get a magazine spread unless it was in Trailers and Trash, but she’d lived in far worse places. With curly red hair and dark blue eyes, she crackled as if an electrical current gave her endless energy. The Honda coughed like a lifelong smoker that needed an oxygen tank. The only new clothes Willa splurged on were underwear. Apparently, the line she wouldn’t cross in the name of poverty was buying used panties. Everything the man did was sexy and arousing. She pictured him with a wrench in his hand and the flex of his biceps as he torqued a bolt. Her inner muscles clenched. Next time she saw him do that she might require resuscitation on the shop floor. “I have a feeling all those Abbott brothers are good with their hands. I know Wyatt sure is. Comes from working on cars, I’d guess.” Sutton made a sound like she’d tasted something delicious. My Review: This was a cleverly amusing, heart squeezing, emotive, and angsty read that was packed with family drama, quirky characters, and wry humor, and written from my favorite dual POV. Deftly detailed with lush descriptions the story flows in an agile and engaging manner while Ms. Trentham kept the sharp and colorful visuals smoothly scrolling through my gray matter while the stalwart and admirable character of Jackson was rattled from his routine enough to find what he needed was right under his nose, although the anxious and skittish Willa made him work for it. When The Stars Come Out could easily be read as a stand-alone book although it continues on from the established storyline with many of the characters from the previous book in the series, Leave The Night On. And while you don’t need to have read the previous book, it was also an engaging and fun story and would deepen your enjoyment of this clever tale. I was intrigued by the various multi-layered storylines and characters as Willa’s secrets were slowly being revealed. Willa was a complicated and fretful character and I found her to be somewhat frustrating as she was severely lacking in interpersonal skills and was rather cowardly as her fight or flight response was always flight, which had lead to some bad decisions. Of course, I’ve never made any of those myself. ;) There were several subplots and lots going on yet the ending pulled most of it together nicely with a surprising twist and a few treats, while also lighting a fuse for the next installment, which I am already eager to get my mitts on.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Awesome read! I truly enjoy this series and this book is one of my favorites. Willa is such a unique character and Jackson is just so swoony. The story is wonderfully written with a great storyline and a nice pace to the story. Willa Brown wound up in Cottonbloom strictly by accident. Then what she thought would be a quick stop along the road turns into a home she doesn't want to leave. She may have no choice though if her past ever catches up to her. She would definitely miss Jackson Abbott. She knows it's a one-sided crush but a girl can dream. Right?? Jackson has never been the relationship type but what he feels for Willa is different and new. He knows she has secrets and while he won't push her he wants nothing more than for her to trust him. Can they find a way to each other or will Willa's past have her running for the hills? I highly recommend this one.
julieford More than 1 year ago
When the Stars Come Out is a continuation in the Cottonbloom series but is also a stand alone novel. This is a story of overcoming past mistakes and learning to trust in others. The story is free flowing and will keep the reader engrossed while the characters are easy, complicated and emotionally realistic. Willa Brown is living under an assumed name trying to outrun her past and survive her present with one hitch in her plan, her growing feelings for Jackson. She must decide if she can trust him and have a future with him. Jackson is a car guy until he realizes that he may lose Willa, his best mechanic. He knows she is hiding things about her past and only wishes to help her but his feelings for her are making him realize that he wants a future with her. I received an ARC of this story but all thoughts and feelings are my own.